University of Surrey awards honorary doctorate to Jimmy Page

Thursday 26 June 2008

The University of Surrey is proud to confer the honorary degree of Doctor of the University to Jimmy Page for services to the music industry. The award was made on Friday, June 20 at Guildford Cathedral. Jimmy generously signed a guitar (see attached photo) which will be given away in a competition at the upcoming GuilFest festival. Surrey’s involvement with GuilFest this year celebrates its innovative music programmes that reflect the diversity of contemporary musical practice.

James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE is a world renowned guitarist and composer. Born in Middlesex in 1944, he grew up in Epsom, Surrey where he developed a passion for both painting and music. Throughout the 1960’s he was in demand as a session musician, leading eventually to his becoming a member of The Yardbirds. After various personnel changes, the band renamed themselves Led Zeppelin, and played under that name for the first time at the University of Surrey on October 25th 1968.

Over the next decade Led Zeppelin effectively redefined ‘rock’ music, drawing on a wide range of influences to create a string of legendary albums which have, to date, sold over 300 million copies. Led Zeppelin are unquestionably one of the most important and influential ‘rock’ bands ever, and the highly successful reunion concert at The O2 in 2007 shows the phenomenal interest in their music which persists today. Through his work with Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, a major creative force within the band, became universally recognised as being one of the greatest and most versatile guitarists of all time.

Away from music, he has been involved in the Action for Brazil’s Children Trust, or ABC Trust. His commitment to this cause goes back to 1994 where he witnessed first hand unrest in the largest of Rio de Janeiro’s shanty towns. He resolved there and then to do something to help, which led to the establishment of "Casa Jimmy", a shelter for abandoned street children, which continues to be run successfully today and has helped over 250 children to find a better life. Building on this, the ABC Trust was set up with Jimmy Page as the founding patron. In 2005 he was awarded an OBE in recognition of his charitable work, and also made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro later that same year.

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